Leeds Centre for Medical Humanities

An interdisciplinary collaboration between the Faculties of Arts and Medicine & Health at the University of Leeds

CFP: Health, Mental Health, and Literature, Boston College

Health, Mental Health, and Literature

The Boston College English Graduate Conference seeks abstracts for papers that consider the intersection between health, mental health, and literature.

Considering recent interdisciplinary developments in the field of Medical Humanities, we are interested in exploring the ways in which literature and other creative arts have attempted to represent or otherwise understand health, which is so often analyzed from a clinical or scientific perspective. We seek papers that work to synthesize clinical approaches and literary approaches to the mind and body. What can be gained by merging literary and scientific analyses?

Possible topics might include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Representations of mental illness in literature, pop culture, or historical texts
  • The role of rhetoric, language, and creativity in medical writing
  • Representations of the healthy or sick body in literature
  • The ethics of “diagnosing” literary or historical figures
  • Literature’s role in normalizing, otherizing, or popularizing mental or physical ailments
  • Literary analyses of psychological writing or scientific writing

Joshua Wolf Shenk, author of the critically acclaimed book Lincoln’s Melancholy, will deliver our keynote address.

Our conference will be held on Saturday, March 9 at Boston College. Boston College is located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts and is easily accessible to downtown Boston. See www.bc.edu for additional campus information.

For questions and submissions, please contact Katie Daily-Bruckner (dailymATbc.edu). Abstracts are due by Tuesday, January 15th.


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